Bluesfest Review: Monday Monday

St Paul & the Broken Bones at Bluesfest. Photos by Stuart Bucknell Photography

It’s the final day of Bluesfest and emotions are a mixed bag of excitement for what ahead, sadness that it’s ending and a bit of relief from the continual stimulation and inspiration from so many amazing artists.

We have to see Blind Boy Paxton again after last year’s show, so we’re here at 1:30pm at the Delta stage as Paxton starts on the keyboard with a sound sentimental to the golden age of Hollywood, a delightful dash of honky tonk and and old times blues sensation. With a dextrous trill of the keys, he has us all enthralled. Paxton says he’s starting off easy “as you all partied to hardy at the festival” last night, and we all laugh, evidence of how he easily builds rapport with the crowd with delightfully timed jokes and comments. He quips “Y’all let me sit off centre [of the stage] and not tell me. Is there anything on my face!?” and breaks in to a huge grin, we chuckle and settle in to enjoy his acoustic guitar dripping in old time blues. The twinkle of his eye matches the twinkle of the guitar strings before he pulls out the harmonica for a spirited performance with rhythm sticks, which keep the momentum going as he sings the refrains.

As fans of early 2000s rockers, Jet, we thought we’d better check in at Crossroads stage to see where the band’s Nic Chester is at these days, and for a 2:15pm chill out, we’re not disappointed. A delicious blend of indie rock and blues soaked riffs greets. His signature vocals hammer home his comfort and familiarity on stage, bringing the crowd in to the fold of his stories.

At 3pm we wander to the Jambalaya stage for Tony Joe White and the crowd erupts in applause as the legend takes to the stage. It seems appropriate at Easter to have a voice as deep and smooth as chocolate smother you in blues, and we all revel in its seductive tones. White rumbles along like percolating coffee, earthy, enticing and altogether satisfying with tones and tales.

After yesterday’s teaser, we decide to head to Delta stage at 4:30pm to see more of Lloyd Spiegel than a passing glimpse. It’s clear pretty quickly that Spiegel is a tongue in cheek wit as he jests that he “might as well tune my guitar on stage” before showing off fingers moving so fast there we half expect to see smoke rising from the fast finger friction! Clearly this set should have come with a warning sign! Amazing sounds stream out of one guitar, the likes equivalent of multiple guitars, and a stomp box the stamp out a hectic beat. Just as we think it’s reached it’s peak, Spiegel unleashes a laconic voice that dances with his guitar string. Ever the comedian, stories are told between songs making us all laugh. Did you know “the Queen thinks he world smells like fresh paint? Because everywhere she goes has been freshly painted!” And blues isn’t safe as he declares “Jeff Lang has never seen a guitarist play to their full capacity because they all shit themselves when he walks in!” His infectious sense of humour has the crowd in stitches and his ferocious fret work has us all in awe. If you want a real laugh, ask his about the guy who “won” the guitar in the raffle – the story is a corker!

As 5pm rolls around we dash to see St Paul & The Broken Bones at the Mojo stage. Their set flawed us last year and this year they’re up there as a must see! With a pre-recorded intro like something out of old Hollywood, but overtaken by old soul, the melody acts like siren song luring people in to join the crowds eagerly anticipating their show. After their 2016 roustabout style performance, this year they deliver a much more soulful and serene performance. The crowds are absorbed, transfixed and transported to another time through the multilayer musings, the sultry, emotive dalliances, and the standing ovation inspiring instrumentals. As we’re all lulled in to their rhythm, they segue in to an upbeat and energetic full band piece laden with funk, just to wake up all of our senses and have us all moving to the beat!

Noticing a name we recognise, Ashleigh Mannix, as part of the folk-grunge duo line up for Little Georgia, we head to Juke Joint to catch their 6pm set. We’re greeted with “This Old House” in sublime harmonised vocals and one-two combination of an acoustic and an electric guitar working together like the best sweet and sour you’ve ever tasted. Delivering an electrified indie vibe with a side of dirty grunge, the duo still trips lightly along the line between acoustic sensibilities and a fully electric sound. The instruments sonically dance together rather than battling for supremacy and a gutsy, punchy opening cements them within the minds of the crowd. Mannix’s vocals offer a depth of tone and nuance, highlighted by Carter’s higher pitched twang. Together they have an intimacy on stage that connects the two yet invites the crowd in to fully experience the counterpoints of lyrical progression. As they both switch to acoustic guitars, the difference has a significant change to their sound and vibe creating a very upbeat and organic sound. Their set wanders deeply in to the folk and indie realms, revels in its joyousness, crosses in to mournful lament, a sentimental melancholy with the sweetest treatment musically, and dives back in to the grunge element seamlessly. Definitely an act to keep an eye on!

We decide to venture to the Craft Beer Bar and grab a stool out the front to catch some of Kasey Chambers‘ 6:45pm set at Crossroads stage. She has everyone singing, even the guy in the crowd sporting a full beard and passionate rendition of “Not Pretty Enough”. Chambers charms the crowd with her deliciously harmonised songs where country meets blues and spell binding rendition of crowd favourites.

Since it’s the last night, and we saw Sir Rosevelt the other night, we figure we should go and catch Zac Brown Band at 8:15pm on the Mojo stage. Our first reaction? “Holy shit!” That rumbling guitar opening and a whole bunch of country style toe tapping, hand clapping, clear plucking, good-time hoe-down style cacophony hits us like a wave, picking us up and taking us on a wild ride. There is wild fiddle tearing the house down with an electric boost smashing “Whiskey’s Gone” in to the ether. Lead singer Brown has the crowd in palm of hand, we’re cheering at the intro and singing along in a heartbeat, whether we know the words or not. A full spectrum performance where we traverse the upbeat, the solemn, the optimistic, heartfelt and the lamentful touch points of life. And to top it off, for the second time this festival, we are treated to a spirited cover of Bohemian Rhapsody.

To finish the night, and bring our festival to an end, we swing by the Delta stage at 9pm to witness The Record Company. Reminiscent of Ash Grunwald’s vigor with harmonica, distorted mic but with a kicking bass guitar and hefty drums backing up. As a delectable counterpoint, the fine harmonica trills are the main instrument when lead singer Vos is not singing. A powerful rock crescendo to finish our Bluesfest experience.

If you think you’d like to head to Bluesfest 2018, early bird tickets are now available to buy at heavily discounted prices. Essentially, every time we’ve ever been, it’s guaranteed a great line up and festival. If you’ve never been, do what you can to make it one year!

Trip back over our full weekend at Bluesfest:

5 Things We Learned at Bluesfest 2017
Bluesfest Review: Good Friday is a fine day!
Bluesfest Review: Saturday Celebration
Bluesfest Review: Sweet Sunday

Head to our Facebook Page to see our full collection of photos from the festival

Highlights from Monday at Bluesfest

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Watch the Debut Little Georgia Video “Heartbreak”

Little Georgia
Image Courtesy of Little Georgia

Little Georgia is the brand new alt-country duo project from celebrated singer-songwriters Justin Carter and Ashleigh Mannix that we’re really digging. Their debut single is “Heartbreak” and it’s catchy and quirky – just the way we like our folk music.

Check out the video for “Heartbreak” below:

Thank Folk It’s Friday – 25th July


This Week in Folk

All the News From The Week That Was

– The new video from Emily Barker’s side-project Vena Portae, “Summer Kills”, was released. Details here

– Sydney artist Hazzy Bee has released the gorgeous new single “Flyscreen”. Details here

Tiny Ruins released the new Neil Finn directed video for the track “Me At The Museum, You In The Wintergardens”. Details here

– Sydney monthly folk night The Folk Informal has announced it’s August lineup including Dan and Amy, Big Smoke, Katie Wighton and Sweet Jean. Details here

– Gold Coast cowgirl Bree De Rome will be launching her new single “Easy to Forget” with shows in Queensland and New South Wales. Details here

Luke Morris will be performing at Splendour today and then is heading off on an East Coast tour. Details here

– Ex-Swell Season singer-songwriter Marketa Irglova has announced plans for her second solo album Muna. Details here

– Dublin born, Australian raised, NYC based roots singer-songwriter Vincent Cross will kick off his first Australian tour in Canberra tonight. Details here

– Folktronica artist Caitlin Park revealed her new video “Wake Up In A Wirr”. Details here

– This Sunday in Sydney there’s a very special Pete Seeger tribute concert featuring Bob & Margaret Fagan, Mary-Jane Field, Peter Hicks, The Lurkers, Christina Mimmocchi, Maurie Mulheron, Margaret Walters and Chris Wheeler. Details here

– Singer-songwriter Steven James Adams has announced a new album, House Music, that features collaborations with Dan Mangan, Emily Barker, John Smith, Justin Young (The Vaccines, Jay Jay Pistolet), Martin Green (Lau) and Inge Thomson. Details here

Ashleigh Mannix & Justin Carter have a brand new duo project and have released their first track “Heartbreak”. Details here

– Perth singer-songwriter Joel Barker released his new single “City”. Details here

– Sydney folk punks The Bottlers are giving away two of their demos, “Blacktown” and “Golden Boys”, for free. Details here

– We premiered the brand new video from Tom West and he’s about to head out on tour. Details here

– And we also premiered the brand new video from Ollie Brown, “Oak Hill”, ahead of the release of his new EP Weatherboard House. Details here

Conor Oberst released the beautiful new video for his track “You Are My Mother’s Child”. Details here

– Brisbane based bluegrass trio The Company have announced details of their new album Trouble. Details here

– The Kangaroo Valley has confirmed its first round of artists for 2014 including Fred Smith, Enda Kenny Band, Martin Pearson, Bajaly Suso from Gambia, The BordererS, Liz Frencham, Nick Rheinberger, Glenn Cardier & Christian Marsh, The Wheeze and Suck Band, Michael Waugh, Paul Greene and the Other Colours, Sparrow Folk, Penny Larkins and Carl Pannuzzo, Salvation Jane, Sal Kimber and the Rollin’ Wheel, Danny Spooner and Crystal Barreca

Releases This Week

Aldous Harding
Aldous HardingAldous Harding
Spunk Store

Oxford and Co
Oxford & CoOxford & Co

Timber and Steel Presents



Friday 25th July – Mojos, Fremantle, WA
Thursday 31st July – Newtown Social Club, Sydney, NSW
Friday 1st August – Black Bear Lodge, Brisbane, QLD

Timber and Steel Recommends – Go To This Gig

Nick Mulvey

Nick Mulvey

While you’ll be able to catch Nick Mulvey at Splendour in the Grass or supporting Ben Howard this week, the show in Melbourne on Tuesday is his only Australian headline show. Presented by the folks behind Communion Melbourne this is guaranteed to be a fine performance from an artist that is on the brink of big things.

Tuesday 29th July – The Toff in Town, Melbourne, VIC

Gigs Next Week

Ben Howard
Friday 25th July – Astor Theatre, Perth, WA
Wednesday 30th July – Palais Theatre, Melbourne, VIC
Thursday 31st July – Enmore Theatre, Sydney, NSW

Busby Marou
Friday 25th July – Brolga Theatre & Convention Centre, Maryborough, QLD
Saturday 26th July – Gladstone Entertainment Convention Centre, Gladstone, QLD
Sunday 27th July – Capella Cultural Centre, Capella, QLD

Caitlin Park
Friday 1st August – Bella Union, Melbourne, VIC

Clare Bowditch with Adalita
Friday 25th July – The Gov, Adelaide, SA

Fanny Lumsden and the Thrillseekers with Ruby Boots
Friday 25th July – Weethalle Hall, Weethalle, NSW
Saturday 26th July – Grong Grong Hall, Grong Grong, NSW
Thursday 31st July – House Concert, Bunbury, WA

First Aid Kit
Tuesday 29th July – Metro Theatre, Sydney, NSW
Wednesday 30th July – The Hi Fi, Melbourne, VIC
Thursday 31st July – The Hi Fi, Melbourne, VIC

Friday 25th July – Mojos, Fremantle, WA
Thursday 31st July – Newtown Social Club, Sydney, NSW
Friday 1st August – Black Bear Lodge, Brisbane, QLD

Jen Cloher
Friday 25th July – Skukum Lounge, Junk Bar, Brisbane, QLD

John Flanagan
Saturday 26th July – Little Features, Hibernian House, Sydney, NSW
Sunday 27th July – Menagerie, The Welcome Hotel, Sydney, NSW

Lachlan Bryan and The Wildes, Dan Waters and The Weeping Willows
Saturday 26th July – The Bridge Hotel, Castlemaine, VIC

Little Features feat. Jake Nauta, John Flanagan, J A Santosa, With Fox
Saturday 26th July – Hibernian House, Sydney, NSW

Mark Wilkinson
Saturday 26th July – Old Museum Concert Hall, Brisbane, QLD

Melody Pool and Marlon Williams
Friday 25th July – Royal Oak Hotel, Launceston, TAS
Saturday 26th July – The Wheatsheaf Hotel, Adelaide, SA

Mikhael Paskalev
Friday 25th July – 170 Russell, Melbourne, VIC

Nick Mulvey
Tuesday 29th July – The Toff in Town, Melbourne, VIC

Ollie Brown
Thursday 31st July – Easy Tiger, Sydney, NSW

Peasant Moon
Sunday 27th July – Menagerie at The Welcome Hotel, Sydney, NSW

Pepa Knight
Friday 1st August – Goodgod Small Club, Sydney, NSW

Remembering Pete Seeger feat. Bob & Margaret Fagan, Mary-Jane Field, Peter Hicks, The Lurkers, Christina Mimmocchi, Maurie Mulheron, Margaret Walters and Chris Wheeler
Sunday 27th August – The Friend in Hand, Sydney, NSW

Splendour in the Grass
Friday 25th to Sunday 27th July – North Byron Parklands, NSW

The Beards
Friday 25th July – Fitzroy Hotel, Windsor, NSW
Saturday 26th July – The Factory Theatre, Sydney, NSW

The Brouhaha
Saturday 26th July – The Austral Hotel, Adelaide, SA

The Head And The Heart
Saturday 26th July – Oxford Arts Factory, Sydney, NSW
Monday 28th July – Howler, Melbourne, VIC

The Yearlings
Friday 25th July – Basement Discs In-store, Melbourne, VIC
Friday 25th July – The Main Bar, Ballarat, VIC
Saturday 26th July – Harvester Moon, Bellarine, VIC
Sunday 27th July – The Shed, Maryknoll, VIC
Friday 1st August – The Song Room, Barossa Art Gallery, Tanunda, SA

Vincent Cross
Friday 25th July – The Merry Muse, Canberra, ACT
Sunday 27th July – House Concert, Newcastle, NSW
Thursday 31st July – House Concert, Wingham, NSW
Friday 1st August – Illawarra Folk Club, Wollongong, NSW

Friday Folk Flashback

“King Kong Kitchie Kitchie Ki Me O” – Laura Veirs

This track has so many things I love about traditional music. It comes from the same tradition as a very well known song, “Froggy Went a’Courting”, but it’s a completely unique song in its own right. It obviously has it’s root in some sort of social commentary or well known story behind it but it has been redefined as a children’s song. And this version by Laura Veirs incorporates part of the reel “Rose Tree” as an instrumental break between verses. So good!

Listen to the New Ashleigh Mannix & Justin Carter Track “Heartbreak”

Ashliegh Mannix
Image Courtesy of Ashleigh Mannix & Justin Carter

Having spent a bunch of time touring together over the last couple of years it makes sense that singer-songwriters Ashleigh Mannix & Justin Carter get together for a brand new duo project. The first track from the Ashleigh Mannix & Justin Carter duo is the indie-folk number “Heartbreak” which you can listen to below. Stay tuned as Ashleigh Mannix & Justin Carter are threatening tour dates in the not too distant future.

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